The collapse of Monarch means flights back to the UK and future bookings have been cancelled. Here’s all you need to know about your rights to a refund and compensation.
Monarch Airlines ceased trading this morning (Monday, 2 October).
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) says all packaged holidays and flights with the carrier have been cancelled, impacting 110,000 customers already abroad and some 300,000 future bookings.
The UK’s fifth largest airline had been given until midnight on Sunday 1 October to renew its ATOL licence, which allowed it to sell package holidays, but was unable to do so.
Monarch, which employs 2,100 people, made a £291 million loss last year, which experts say is down to a combination of factors including a weak pound, increased fuel costs and depressed prices.
The carrier is the largest in the UK to collapse and the CAA is calling the fallout an ‘unprecedented situation’.
If you are a Monarch customer here’s what you need to know about getting a flight home or how you can get a refund for your cancelled future booking.
Your rights if you’re overseas and due to fly back on or before 15 October
If you are abroad and were due to fly home with Monarch before 15 October, you’ll be offered a free flight home, regardless of whether your flight or holiday was ATOL protected.
The CAA and the Government are putting together a fleet of more than 30 aircraft, flying to more than 30 airports, to bring the 110,000 stranded overseas back to the UK within the next fortnight.
You just need to check the website monarch.caa.co.uk, for confirmation of new flight details, which should be available within 48 hours in advance of your original departure time.
The CAA is advising Monarch customers who are currently overseas not to go to the airport unless their flight back to the UK has been confirmed on the site.
There is also a 24-hour helpline, 0300 303 2800 from in the UK and Ireland, and +44 1753 330330 from overseas, to provide additional assistance.
Once your flight back to the UK has been confirmed the CAA recommends that customers arrive at the check-in at least three hours in advance as it may take longer than usual to be processed.
The CAA warns that customers will not be able to fly home early. The majority of replacement flights will be at the same time or later than your original booking.
If you are abroad on a Monarch package holiday, the CAA says it is contacting hotels to ensure you can remain in your accommodation. However, you may be asked to make a further payment, but keep a receipt and you can claim this back from the CAA when you get back to the UK.
Your right if you’re overseas and due to fly back from 16 October
If you are abroad and due to fly back from 16 October, the right to get a flight home is not automatic and what happens next depends on whether you have ATOL protection.
If you have it your return will be arranged at no extra cost.
But if you don’t (which is likely if you have a flight booked on or after 15 December 2016) you will need to book your own flight home. The CAA has a list of alternative airlines to travel with set out by destination.
Your rights if you haven’t travelled yet
All of Monarch’s flights that were due to depart from the UK have been cancelled so the CAA is advising holidaymakers not to bother turning up for their scheduled flight.
Instead, it is advising customers to check the dedicated website monarch.caa.co.uk set up to help people find out what they can do next. What you can do next depends on whether your booking is ATOL protected.
Monarch offered ATOL protection on all its packaged holidays but the protection for flight-only bookings depends on when you booked.
If you haven’t yet travelled and have a future flight that was booked on or after 15 December 2016 you won’t be ATOL protected so won’t be able to make a claim from the CAA.
You should check with your travel insurer to see if you can make a claim. You may also be able to claim money back through your credit card or debit card provider (see our Section 75 and Chargeback guides)
If you haven’t yet travelled and booked your flight on or before 14 December 2016 you should have ATOL protection and should have an ATOL certificate. This will entitle you to a refund for your trip. The CAA will be publishing more details on how to claim this ‘shortly’.
If you haven’t travelled and have booked a Monarch package holiday you will have ATOL protection so will be able to claim a refund, details on how to do this will also follow shortly.
The CAA says that refunds will be made as soon as possible and ‘by the end of 2017 at the latest.’
If you booked a Monarch flight or Monarch package holiday through another travel company or travel agent you should contact them directly to see if you have ATOL protection.
‘Some disruption is inevitable’
Andrew Haines, chief executive of the CAA, said: “We know that Monarch's decision to stop trading will be very distressing for all of its customers and employees.
“This is the biggest UK airline ever to cease trading, so the Government has asked the CAA to support Monarch customers currently abroad to get back to the UK at the end of their holiday at no extra cost to them.
“We are putting together, at very short notice and for a period of two weeks, what is effectively one of the UK's largest airlines to manage this task. The scale and challenge of this operation means that some disruption is inevitable.
"We ask customers to bear with us as we work around the clock to bring everyone home.”
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